Since 2014, the United States has publicly accused Russia of violating the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, a landmark Cold War nuclear arms control agreement. The new US president, Donald J. Trump, will face the tough decision about whether or not to remain committed to the treaty. This article recounts the history of the INF treaty and assesses Russian and US interests related to the treaty. It develops three possible future scenarios for Russian actions and their impact on, as well as possible responses by, the United States and its NATO allies. The conclusion is that NATO allies will most likely face an ambiguous Russian stance with respect to INF weapons, which will make it difficult to find a balanced response strategy, bringing together diplomatic and economic pressure as well as military means to respond to Russia’s INF violation.

This article was originally published in Strategic Studies Quarterly.

Read Full Text

Ulrich Kühn is a nonresident scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and the head of the arms control and emerging technologies program at the Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy at the University of Hamburg.
More >